You may have heard the phrase "Mid Market Rent" from time to time, but what does it actually mean?
Mid Market Rent (or MMR) started in Scotland as a government initiative to help the 'housing crisis' - the crisis being, there are more people needing houses, than there are houses.
To get a house through a housing association, you are assigned points based on your situation. For instance if you are homeless, or about to be homeless, you get points; if your home is overcrowded, you get points; if you have certain medical needs, you get points. After you are assigned points, you are then placed on one of 5 different waiting lists. The people with the most needs are housed first, but only when a house becomes available.
Housing associations are charities which rely on funding to be able to afford to build and maintain social housing. There have been many cuts to these funds in recent years, and also with the right-to-buy scheme, many social housing tenants have bought their home - reducing the number of social housing further. In Scotland alone, there are around 150,000 households waiting for social housing. Unfortunately for the majority of people applying for social housing, getting allocated a home simply won't happen.
With a lack of affordable housing around, to help ease this issue, the MMR scheme was formed. Housing associations across Scotland created non-charitable subsidiaries to be able to take part in this scheme, essentially becoming a private landlord. It simplifies the letting process right down, and works the same way private letting does. If properties are on offer, you apply, the landlord assesses your ability to pay rent, and if accepted, you move in on a Short Assured Tenancy, which typically lasts for 6 months at a time.
How is MMR different?
How MMR differs from private rent is that the price of rent is around 20% cheaper, and sometimes a deposit is not asked for, however there are no hard-and-fast rules of MMR. Where Ore Valley does not currently ask for a minimum household income, other organisations do, for instance Port Of Leith Housing asks for a minimum income of £17,000 per annum.
If you live in a MMR property, your property is owned and run in an entirely different way to social housing, and although you may deal with the same staff at the housing association as social housing tenants, you are not a social housing tenant. Your rent will be more, your tenancy agreement is different, and you won't be eligible for schemes such as the home swap scheme. Also, if you are deemed suitably housed, unfortunately if you wish to apply for social housing whilst in a MMR property, you won't be assigned many points and will be placed towards the bottom of the waiting list, so it is essential you assess the long-term affordability of a MMR property, bearing in mind the costs are substantially more than social housing.
If you are worried about money, you can contact the Money Advice Service who are free and impartial, or alternatively you can speak with our Tenancy Project Worker who can help you budget and offers careers advice, her name is Danielle and you can phone her on 01592 721 917. For housing advice, the charity Shelter Scotland is really helpful and informative. For further information on MMR, have a look at MidMarketRent.com.